16th-18th January 2015
Peak District: Dalehead Bunkhouse, Upper Booth, nr Edale, Hope Valley, S33 7ZJ
Trip Organiser: Pokey
Attendees: Alan, Claire, Marion, Andy M, Dave W, Sarah, Susan, Annie and Pokey.
We arrived at the bunkhouse just as it was getting dark, so its stunning location at the top of the Edale Valley wasnâ€™t obvious. We got ourselves sorted out, as the numbers for the trip were quite low, there were plenty of options for where to sleep. Next job was to get some wood from the store and get the big log burner going. The place was already warming up due to the rather novel radiating pictures, infra-red panels with scenic landscapes of the Peaks.
Alan and Claire were due next, (but were delayed due to Ikea wardrobe door issues) and were followed by Marion and Andy. We had a fun evening, chatting, reminiscing and the odd glass of wine! The final group Dave, Sarah and Susan arrived late, after 1 am, and after a short wind-down we all went off to bed.
Saturday morning greeted us with glorious sunshine and bit of snow on the hills. Todayâ€™s walk would take us straight up to the ridge between Mam Tor and Kinder Scout, along the ridge to Brown Knoll. The going was quite tough as the path was invisible and the bog crusted over with ice. Nearly all of us went up to our knees at some point! We had a short break at Edale Cross, before finally making it up onto Kinder near Edale Rocks. We then skirted Kinder eastward, past Pym Chair and the Woolpacks (a field of limestone boulders weathered in weird and wonderful shapes), then headed over Grindslow Knoll and down towards Edale Village.
We had planned a refreshment stop in the Old Nags Head, but it was shut, so we headed down the road to the Rambler Inn to discuss our options. There were two options for the walk. The first was to head across the valley, up onto Hollins Cross, along to Mam Tor and back down to the bunkhouse. The second option was to have another pint and walk the mile or so back up the valley to the bunkhouse. Then a third option arose, hop on the train at Edale station, jump off just before it goes into the tunnel. Not many were up for that one! So we went for option two, as the day was fading fast. We arrived back at the bunkhouse just as it was getting dark, in flurries of snow.
The priority was to get the fire going and get dinner on the go. We all sat down to Moroccan Chicken with couscous, followed by fruit crumble and custard, washed down with a few glasses of wine. Dinner was followed by some games and then a late night snowball fight and snowman.
On Sunday morning we were greeted with a bright sunny day, with the surrounding hills covered with snow. Once we had got ourselves sorted out, cleaned the bunkhouse, we parked up down the road and set off up the Pennine Way. Up Jacobs Ladder and onto Kinder Scout again. This time the plan was to go the other way around, along to Kinder Downfall and back. Clouds started to roll in as we neared the top, by the time we stopped for a break at Kinder Low we were in thick cloud. Due to the snow, the path was not easily visible for a while, this enabled Claire and Marion to test out their navigation skills, timing and pacing. Both counting up to a hundred with ease, while walking and breathing, impressive! Eventually the path became more obvious as it wound through the rocks along the edge of Kinder. The going was slower than expected, but we finally arrived at Kinder Downfall a bit behind schedule. Unless it is caught at the right moment, Kinder Downfall can be rather underwhelming, on this day in thick cloud it lived up to expectations.
After a bit of lunch we back tracked, dropping out of the clouds as we came off the hill. Back to the cars, where people were keen to hit the road for the long drive south. Luckily for us it was a 30 minute hop over the hills back home. All in all, a great weekend with a couple of good walks in varied conditions, good company and hopefully a good time had by all!